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Ummmmm, so I did post a warning that my writings about the Texas trip would be long. I don't want to forget anything! So I tried to write down as much as I can remember. The main thing about Sunday was that it was a gorgeous day for roaming about the Alamo grounds and along the Riverwalk and that it's always a good idea to know where you hotel is so that you can return to it.


Sunday morning we got on the road around 8 or 9 in the morning, stopping off at Duncan Donuts. We mildly violated our “no chain” rule – but we don’t have a local Duncan Donuts, so it was still a nontraditional place. I even used Karyn’s Eat This/Not That book to pick out my breakfast, although I had a bite of Monkeys’s donut. Monkeys got a French Vanilla coffee, so to distinguish it from mine the server wrote “FV” on the lid, only it didn’t look like “FV”. Childish giggling on my part followed. I took a picture. Diesel in Texas was in the 2.70’s to 2.80’s the entire trip, which was awesome.

We were told that hotels might be cheaper just outside of San Antonio, so looking at the map and the exit signs we decided to stay in what we thought was Universal City. So we randomly picked the Red Roof Inn, discovered for multiple stays it would only be $50 a night (score!!), and unpacked. It was only noon, so we plugged the Alamo (open until 5 on Sundays!) into Toaster’s Garmon and struck out for some unplanned sight seeing.

Sunday was a gorgeous day!! We parked at the Riverwalk Mall and wandered the streets searching for the Alamo. We stopped a man in a suit to ask if he knew where it was, sheepishly he pointed RIGHT BEHIND US and said, “Isn’t that it?” It’s smaller than you’d expect! And it’s right next to the mall, surrounded by shops. But some how when you get on the grounds you forget the commercialism that surrounds it. There is a lovely stone fence, wrought iron work, and plants and flowers everywhere. What remains of the Alamo, is a small building, I was calling it the mission; most the fortified area is now roads and malls and who knows what. The mission is small and roughhewn stone. There was a long line to get inside, so Sunday we just walked around the gardens taking pictures of the flowers and cactus and koi pond. We also accidently wandered into the gift shop, where they had a miniature of the Alamo in 1836 with all the troops in the midst of battle – that showed the entire area, which was much bigger.

After an hour we meandered back to the mall and looked around the shops there. Their mall is huge – at least four levels. At the bottom level it opens to the actual Riverwalk. We walked along the Riverwalk for maybe two hours, looking at the restaurants, shops, statues, building architecture, ducks, flowers, towers, bridges, boats, and anything else that caught our attention. We accidently found La Villeta, which was on my wishlist of things to see in San Antonio. La Villeta is a little collection of artsy shops and theatres. We stopped in an art gallery where I wanted pretty much everything, a little church with lovely stained glass, an actual stained glass shop (in honor of Redd), and a really cool outdoor theatre where the seating was a grassy stepped area on one side of the river and the stage across the river and underneath a set of five giant bells. We sat there a bit watching the boats go by and learned from a passing tour that it was featured in Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality. There were several curious stairwells that led to the streets above, one was covered in wisteria and featured beautiful tiles on the fronts of the steps. The whole trail we followed was lovely. We could have walked further, but we were starting to get hungry and didn’t want to go so far as to get lost, so we turned around and retraced our steps on the other side of the river until we found a set of restaurants that had intrigued us earlier.

We ended up eating at a place called Ibiza – the food was fantastic. Monkeys shot a video of us sitting at the restaurant and took pictures of our meal. We sat at a high outside table where we could watch the river as we ate while still being out of the sun. It’s was breezy and beautiful and the Riverwalk was crowded with people and sights. The table below us to the right had four drunk 20-something year olds with giant margaritas. I wanted one, but we were a little afraid I’d wobble into the water afterwards! They were loud and boisterous, but it was a happy cacophony. The table to our left had six business suits with blackberries. After their meal there were handshakes all around with one man seeming to thank everyone for their support – it felt like a political meeting or an interview. Our waiter was super friendly despite having to run around like mad between the tables; he kept our glasses full and brought out giant plates of enchiladas, rice, beans, salads, and an incongruous but tasty Montecristo sandwich that became our evening snack back at the hotel.

After dinner we wandered back to the Riverwalk Mall and found our car. It had been a perfect day - full of sunshine, new sights, yummy food, and peaceful company! We were amazed by how easy it was to get there and excited about our return the next day! Suddenly we realized we came in on a one-way road, so we couldn’t retrace our steps home. Also, we didn’t know the hotel address. Also, the Garmon didn’t find a Red Roof Inn in Universal City. Neither did the men at the Riverwalk Help Desk, one of whom even tried looking it up on his iPhone. He only found a Red Roof in San Antonio. No worries, when we got on line earlier at the hotel it directed us to a Comfort Inn, so maybe it just recently changed names! We found a Comfort Inn in Universal City on the Garmon and struck out, figuring even if that wasn’t it – we were on exit 590 of I10, so once we got to Universal City we’d search for I10 and go from there. We got to Universal City and no one knew of the Red Roof Inn or I10 exit. We stopped three places. Monkeys got the bright idea of checking the room key, but it only had an ad for Pizza Hut, not the name and address of the hotel. Finally we pulled into a gas station and were told there was no I10 Exit in Universal City. They gave us directions to I10. Monkeys also looked up Red Roof Inn in the phone book thinking if he called *any* Red Roof they might could get him to the right one. At this point, over an hour had passed. It only took us ten minutes to get to the Alamo, so we must be at least 50 minutes out of the way. We started on the gas attendants’ directions. The attendants were cool, by the way. Mohawks. Meanwhile Monkeys called a Red Roof Inn and ended up with ours! So they gave us different directions. This was now our fourth set of directions, and it was hard to keep track. We yet again adjusted our course. I called the hotel back to ask what city they were in. The lady at the counter paused and said in a are-you-an-idiot voice “San Antonio.” So I plugged the information into the Garmon, and it came up with yet another set of directions. We followed the Garmon, and after another 30 minutes or so made it back to the hotel. We were alternating between laughing at our stupidity and frustrated over feeling like we’d never make it back. We learned some powerful life lessons! First, ALWAYS write down your hotel information. Second, we should have from the start called the Pizza Hut and just asked them for the nearest Red Roof hotel location. Third, we figured out how to program the Garmon to look for interstates, a feature we did not realize it had and was not particularly intuitive to locate. To give us some excuse, it had been a long day, we were tired so not thinking clearly, and we were 100% confident we’d stopped in Universal City based on the car map. So we had a crazy adventure to end the day! Back at the hotel I tried to work off my dinner with jogging in place and stretching exercises then Monkeys and I ate the Montecristo sandwich and planned the next two days with the help of all the fliers and Google.


Remember the Alamo! Remember the Alamo!
It's much smaller inside than you would think, but it is part of a larger complex that no longer exists. I must say, being inside the Alamo was a sobering experience. Outside the Alamo, however, was a lovely park area.
I'm pokey! I'm pokey!
Giant cactus says hello.
Coy Koi Coy Koi
Everyone is gathered around a little koi pond with some of the largest koi I have every seen. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas.
Blue Bonnets! Blue Bonnets!
There were blue bonnets all along the highway driving into Texas, so it was no surprise to see them featured in the Alamo grounds, too. It was a gorgeous day, and it felt nice to just sit in the park with the breeze and the tourists and the flowers.
Tada! Texas!! Tada! Texas!!
We arrived earlier than we expected on Sunday, so we decided to check out the Alamo and the Riverwalk to get an idea of what we would be exploring in more detail the next day.
One of the boat tours coming through. One of the boat tours coming through.
We went on a boat tour the next day, but Sunday we were on foot all day. I snagged a picture from one of the many cross bridges.
Not quite 10 Years Not quite 10 Years
Some nice stranger took our picture along the Riverwalk. You can see one of the boats along the bottom right.
All along the Riverwalk All along the Riverwalk
Sunday we just wandered around the Riverwalk. Not only was it good exercise, we saw some lovely alcoves and shops. One awesome thing was all the tile in unexpected places such as this stairwell. I've no idea where it leads, probably just up to the streets, but again - it was a nice shaded area for a bit of a rest.
Cool Placard Cool Placard
There was so much to see on the walk - a theatre, loads of lovely bridges, flowers, artsy shops, yummy looking food, statues, and plaques such as this one.
Dinner along the Riverwalk Dinner along the Riverwalk
We passed several restaurants along our walk, carefully inspecting the posted menus, and on our way back we stopped at this one for dinner. Unfortunately, the pictures of the food are on Monkey's camera. It was delicious! Monkeys got mole chicken enchiladas with beans, rice, and salad. I got a Montecristo (sp?) sandwich. We split down the middle. Well, not the middle - more like 65/35, but still... Mmmmmmm.
View from our dinner table. View from our dinner table.
Those kids in the bottom left of the picture were pretty drunk, so their conversation was really interesting. The table to the right was either a business meeting or a political planning session; I'm leaning toward politics because it felt like he was canvassing for votes as he left the restaurant. Meanwhile, the boats drifted by.
View of Ibiza from a Riverboat View of Ibiza from a Riverboat
I'm cheating - this picture is actually from Monday. I took it from the Riverboat Tour, hence the slight fuzziness, I think. Just imagine you see me and Monkeys sitting at one of those tables scarfing down mole enchiladas while I stare longingly at the drunk table's GIANT margaritas. (I didn't get one only because we were afraid I'd fall into the river!! I get wobbly from margaritas...)
Me and Saint Anthony Me and Saint Anthony
I can't remember the full story of this statue, but there are only two of them in the world. I think it was a gift from Portugal, who has the other statue cast from this mold. The mold was then destroyed. Maybe they made three and Texas has two of them. But there's no others beyond that. It was hard to hear the tour guide sometimes with the noise of the water. Meanwhile I distract you with the story of how San Antonio got it's name: http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jun2004/Feature2.asp
At the feet of Saint Anthony At the feet of Saint Anthony
I found a small flower. Isn't that sweet?
Tower of the Americas in HemisFair Park Tower of the Americas in HemisFair Park
Well, the Tower is in the park, we aren't. We're still wandering around the Riverwalk. We never actually made it over to the park -although it was on my wish list. It was the site of the 1968 World's Fair! And there's a magic theatre and a couple of cultural institutes there! Ah, well. Too much to see in just three days. Meanwhile, check out this guys page about some of the statues we missed by not making it to the park. He's funny. http://greglange.com/photolog/20041109/



Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
slfcllednowhere
Apr. 13th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
TEXAS
Awww I love San Antonio. We lived there when I was little and some of my happiest memories are there. :)
libras_art
Apr. 13th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
I've managed to be in that area twice now... both times Rowan intended on taking me to the Riverwalk... and neither time did we ever make it there. lol. Very beautiful!
sarahtoalaska
Apr. 13th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
If you cut texas in AK in half... texas would be the 3rd largest state.... so everything is not bigger in texas. :D
magnet5
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Nice to know I'm not the only one who gets baffled by new cities. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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